Yoga is a mind-body practice that combines physical poses, controlled breathing, and meditation or relaxation. Yoga is proven to help reduce stress, lower blood pressure and lower your heart rate. And almost anyone can do it. Today I’m sharing easy yoga poses for reducing stress.
1. Child’s pose :
- Kneel on the floor. Touch your big toes together and sit on your heels, then separate your knees about as wide as your hips.
- Exhale and lay your torso down between your thighs.
- Balasana is a resting pose. Stay anywhere from 30 seconds to a few minutes. Beginners can also use Balasana to get a taste of a deep forward bend, where the torso rests on the thighs. Stay in the pose from 1 to 3 minutes.
2. Bridge pose :
- Lie on the floor, place a thickly folded blanket under your shoulders to protect your neck, if required. Bend your knees and set your feet on the floor.
- Exhale and keep your thighs and inner feet parallel. Clasp the hands below your pelvis and extend through the arms to help you stay on the tops of your shoulders.
- Lift your buttocks until the thighs are about parallel to the floor. Keep your knees directly over the heels, but push them forward, away from the hips, and lengthen the tailbone toward the backs of the knees. Lift the pubis toward the navel.
- Stay in the pose anywhere from 30 seconds to 1 minute. Release with an exhalation, rolling the spine slowly down onto the floor.
- Lay on your back. Close the eyes, and take slow deep breaths through the nose. Allow your whole body to become soft and heavy, letting it relax into the floor. As the body relaxes, feel the whole body rising and falling with each breath.
- Stay in Shavasana for 5 to 15 minutes.
- Begin standing in Mountain Pose (Tadasana), with your arms at your sides.
- Bend your knees. Balance on your right foot and cross your left thigh over your right. Looking straight Hook the top of your left foot behind your right calf. Balance for one breath.
- Beginners can omit the foot hook and cross the leg over the top of the standing leg, instead, resting the toes gently on the floor.
- Extend your arms straight in front of your body. Drop your left arm under your right.
- Bend your elbows, and then raise your forearms perpendicular to the floor. Wrap your arms and hands, and press your palms together (or as close as you can get them). Lift your elbows and reach your fingertips toward the ceiling. Keep your shoulder blades pressing down your back, toward your waist.
- Square your hips and chest to the front wall. Draw your belly in and up.
- Hold for up to one minute, focusing on your breath and keeping your gaze fixed and soft. Gently unwind your arms and legs and return to Tadasana. Repeat on the opposite side.
5. Legs up the wall pose :
- Keep your legs relatively firm, just enough to hold them vertically in place. Release the heads of the thigh bones and the weight of your belly deeply into your torso, toward the back of the pelvis. Soften your eyes and turn them down to look into your heart.
- Stay in this pose anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. Be sure not to twist off the support when coming out. Instead, slide off the support onto the floor before turning to the side. You can also bend your knees and push your feet against the wall to lift your pelvis off the support. Then slide the support to one side, lower your pelvis to the floor, and turn to the side. Stay on your side for a few breaths, and come up to sitting with an exhalation.
6. Puppy pose :
- Come onto all fours. See that your shoulders are above your wrists and your hips are above your knees. Walk your hands forward a few inches and curl your toes under.
- As you exhale, move your buttocks halfway back toward your heels. Keep your arms active; don’t let your elbows touch the ground.
- press the hands down and stretch through the arms while pulling your hips back toward your heels.
- Hold for 30 seconds to a minute, then release your buttocks down onto your heels.
7. Cobra pose :
- Place your hands palms down on the ground beneath your shoulders.
- Lift your chest up off the ground by straightening your arms.
- Gaze upwards and keep your abdominals engaged.
For Cobra Pose, lie down on your abdomen and point your feet behind you. Bring your hands next to your chest and engage the gluteals and back muscles as you curl the chest up away from the floor, supporting the shape with your arms. Stay in the position for 30 sec then release.
8. Easy pose :
- Cross your shins, widen your knees, and slip each foot beneath the opposite knee as you bend your knees and fold the legs in toward your torso.
- You’ll know you have the basic leg fold of Sukhasana when you look down and see a triangle, its three sides formed by the two thighs and the crossed shins. Don’t confuse this position with that of other classic seated postures in which the ankles are tucked in close to the sitting bones. In Sukhasana, there should be a comfortable gap between the feet and the pelvis.
- You can sit in this position for any length of time, but if you practice this pose regularly, be sure to alternate the cross of the legs
9. Cow pose :
- Start on your hands and knees in a “tabletop” position. Make sure your knees are set directly below your hips and your wrists, elbows and shoulders are in line and perpendicular to the floor. Center your head in a neutral position, eyes looking at the floor.
- As you inhale, lift your sitting bones and chest toward the ceiling, allowing your belly to sink toward the floor. Lift your head to look straight forward
- Exhale, coming back to neutral “tabletop” position on your hands and knees. Repeat 10 to 20 times.
- This pose is often paired with Cat Pose on the exhale for a gentle, flowing vinyasa.
10. Dolphin pose :
- Come onto the floor on your hands and knees. Set your knees directly below your hips and your forearms on the floor with your shoulders directly above your wrists. Firmly press your palms together and your forearms into the floor.
- Curl your toes under, then exhale and lift your knees away from the floor. At first keep the knees slightly bent and the heels lifted away from the floor. Lengthen your tailbone away from the back of your pelvis and press it lightly toward the pubis. Against this resistance, lift the sitting bones toward the ceiling, and from your inner ankles draw the inner legs up into the groins.
- Continue to press the forearms actively into the floor. Firm your shoulder blades against your back, then widen them away from the spine and draw them toward the tailbone. Hold your head between the upper arms; don’t let it hang or press heavily against the floor.
- You can straighten your knees if you like, but if your upper back rounds it’s best to keep them bent. Continue to lengthen your tailbone away from the pelvis and lift the top of your sternum away from the floor
- Stay between 30 seconds to one minute. Then release your knees to the floor with an exhale.